Followers of this blog already know that home automation technology is practical, convenient and energy saving. But there’s no reason you can’t have some fun with it. There are many products that will not only become a practical part of your system, but will also add “wow” and “cool” to integrated control. If you’re automating your home anyway, why not impress you friends? From time to time, we’ll take a look at some of the options that will bring an element of fun to your system. Here are three.

Invisible speakers

In the early days of home music listening (circa 1970) bigger was better. Many of the most desirable speakers for home systems were also the focal points of the room. Eventually, acoustic engineers and speaker designers began to think outside of the box with new and radical designs and applications. At just about the same time, new materials became available that enabled these new designs to actually work and succeed. Exotic materials such as beryllium, carbon fiber, mylar, silk, polypropylene, and several others, played a large part in the downsizing and miniaturization of residential loudspeakers. But the best part is that sound quality improved as well.

By the late 1980’s several companies brought speakers to market that were specifically designed to be installed flush in ceilings and walls. However, the sound quality of these original designs was barely acceptable and the rectangular and round grills were visible eyesores.

By the turn of the century in-wall and in-ceiling speakers had evolved and started to perform to higher sonic standards. Now you can get excellent sounding speakers that are installed in walls and ceilings without visible perforated metal grills. The speaker elements that produce the sound are perfectly flat and become one with the drywall. Invisible speakers fit in between standard 2 X 4 studs spaces or between ceiling joists. Once the taping and spackling is completed, feel free to paint or wallpaper to your hearts content.

They can be installed in pairs for traditional two channel music systems. Installation in the following rooms would be appropriate: kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, dens, master suites etc. They are also an excellent choice in most home theater applications. Both 5.1 and the more advanced 7.1 digital surround formats would be compatible. There are even invisible subwoofer systems. Subwoofers are an essential element of any serious home theater system.

Shake Rattle and Roll

Now you can watch your favorite DVD and Blu Ray movies and feel them too. A new product called DBOX can be retro fit to your existing home theater chairs as well as to your traditional couches and sectionals. Or purchase brand new theater chairs with factory installed DBOX motion modules. The DBOX digital processor is connected to your DVD or Blu Ray player. It reads the existing codes that are already embedded on the movie disc and sends those codes via a Cat5 data cable to each motion unit attached to the bottom of the furniture. The motion activator in the chair responds to the codes from the movie in three different planes of direction: vertical, back to front, and side to side.

Imagine watching Avatar in big screen 3D and also having your chair move, shake and rumble in perfect sync with the movie. Not quite Universal Studios Theme Park, but fun just the same. If you want to try it out first, Cineplex theatres have now outfitted some of their locations with D-box.

It’s your media – see it where and when you want

Stacks of DVD movies and CDs taking over your family room? Do you open up CD jewel boxes and DVD movie covers only to find the shiny 5” disc missing in action? Never fear, Media Servers are here. Like a computer hard drive, it can store a huge amount of data in a very compact space. Your entire movie and music collection can be ripped to the hard drives, and stored for instant and convenient access anytime you are in the mood to watch a film or listen to your favorite tunes. Several companies offer professional CD and DVD ripping services that will help make the process painless or OneTouch can do it for you. Your collection will be picked up from your home. Once completed,

There is also no need to be concerned about the possible loss of your valuable media content. You now have it backed up to hard drive. One of the most useful conveniences is the connectivity of the media server to all of the TVs throughout your entire home. Multi zone capability also means that the music is available in any room of the house that is tied into the central music system. This also means that you can start watching a movie in your dedicated home theater room, and finish in the master suite without missing a single frame.

At OneTouch Automation, we stay on top of all the most recent changes in Home Automation technology. Let us make you home safer, more energy efficient, easier to live in and, yes, a lot “cooler.” Call us for a no charge consulation on how we can help you.